I was talking to a friend of mine and came to know that there was a proposal to tax the ESOP’s under the new budget proposal in India. I came home and got down to read the details on an online newspaper.
And there it was; the headlines of the day “Anna’s body flown in to Bahamas”; in bold. I looked around for the budget news and found this “Blair’s love Indian food”. The billion dollar question for the day was quick to find. It was “Abhishek-Ash to marry in Jodhpur? ” Finally I found the much needed topic “India Inc disappointed with Budget”.
It was really annoying. A very important topic like the budget and other finance news are at a corner. You have to really search to find them. News such as “What happened to Britney’s hair” or “Why is restaurant food bad?” is more prominent. I am not saying that nobody in the world is interested in these but, they are definitely not so important compared to the news of ESOP tax or stock market index. And it is not only with this newspaper nor was this the first time. I have faced this situation earlier too. I would want some important info, but will have to search through a maze of junkies. What has a common man got to do with where will Abhishek and Ash get married; unless of course he is invited for the marriage.
I think there is a problem with the way the media thinks and portrays the world to us. They design and tell us what to read and what is important for us. If the editor feels who wore what at the Oscars is more important than which highway is closed due to a car crash, then that is the headlines for the day. If the editor has a personal grudge against a political party or hates a sport, they stop at nothing to bad mouth them. A prominent news channel had predicted that the ruling party would lose the Gujarat state election in India. Even after a year, articles and news bits continue to appear in that newspaper trying to demean that government which won with a clean majority; many a times I have noticed, for no apparent connected reason. What this means is that people who are loyal to one newspaper would be spoon fed to think in the way the editor or the columnists wants them to think. Readers will skip a movie, or, go to a restaurant blindly based on the rating given in their favorite newspaper.
Maybe, blaming the media is not fully correct. The media focuses more on things which are in demand. If the public demand for what Angelina wore in her latest movie is more than how many people died of starvation in a remote country, then Angelina’s dress will be in the headlines. Leave an old copy of a film magazine and a new copy of a science magazine on a park bench and go back after an hour. You will find the film magazine missing but nobody would have even touched the science stuff. How many times have you found yourselves in parties or get together where you discuss about state laws or university education? Most of the time, discussions will revolve around the football team or a favorite show on TV. With this being the case who has the time to read the new laws or the budget highlights I was searching for?
The public accepts what the media gives and the media gives what the public demands. Blaming the entire system for this sorrow state I got back to the news on the Indian budget. It was a lengthy article with some bulleted items. I finished the first paragraph and thought to myself “Maybe the Blair’s might have found Indian food spicy”.
~Narendra V Joshi